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 2009-09-08 10:14 am Back to NEWS
Magande puzzles State

CHIEF Government spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha has said it is puzzling that former Finance minister, Ng’andu Magande’s can call on Government to state its position on whether it will appeal against former president Frederick Chiluba when he knows the law.

Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said in Lusaka yesterday that as a former Cabinet minister, Mr Magande was aware that the Government was committed to upholding the independence of the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and would not interfere with its decisions.

He said in an interview that the Government did not want to comment on former President Frederick Chiluba’s acquittal because it did not want to influence the DPP’s decision.

Gen Shikapwasha was reacting to Mr Magande who asked the Government to tell the nation whether it would appeal against Dr Chiluba’s acquittal or not.

He said the DPP was constitutionally mandated to decide on behalf of the Government on matters of appeal in cases such as that of Dr Chiluba.

“The Government does not come up with positions on matters which have something to do with the DPP. It has nothing to do with the decision on whether to appeal or not. We did not give our position on Dr Chiluba’s acquittal because we did not want to sway the DPP’s mind because we wanted to uphold the independence of the office,” he said.

He said the Government had nothing to do with the decision on whether to appeal against any court verdict or not and urged the public, especially political leaders like Mr Magande to appreciate that fact.

Gen Shikapwasha, who is Information and Broadcasting Services minister, said according to the Republican Constitution, the office of the DPP was an independent entity, whose operation should not be influenced by any other office or individual.

He said it was equally puzzling that Mr Magande, who is a member of Parliament (MP) for the ruling party, could choose to rush to the media to discuss the issue when he had access to all the relevant offices including that of the DPP with whom he could have discussed the matter.

Gen Shikapwasha called on the people to take time and study what the law stipulates on various constitutional offices for them to fully understand their operations.

He said people should not politicise the office of the DPP because it was non-partisan which operated autonomously.

In another development, Gen Shikapwasha said the onus was now on Muvi TV and My TV to obey the ministerial directive to stop broadcasting the former’s programmes countrywide or face sanctions.

Gen Shikapwasha said it had come to the Government’s attention that My TV had entered into a contract to broadcast Muvi TV programmes nationally through its satellite broadcasting system programme by Muvi.

He said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the Government did not want to reach a level where it would close down a station but would not tolerate blatant disregard for the law.

He said he was not after punishing any of the organisations involved for the sake of it but that as minister, he was there to ensure that the laws were adhered to by all the stakeholders.

(Times of Zambia)

 
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